Why Others Underestimate You and What To Do About It

Feb 22, 2021
Women experience this more often than they would like to admit. Others underestimate them  – about who they are and what they are capable of.  This can lead to lowered self-esteem and self-confidence and then, women fall into the trap of underestimating themselves as well.

Even if you have solid self-confidence and are highly skilled, it doesn’t mean others are not going to underestimate you and what you are capable of.

Yes, you are smart, a hard worker  and have done the work to make sure you are capable, but perhaps you often feel like you still have to fight  hard to get others to see your value.

It is your responsibility to not only know your value but to carry yourself worthy of having others see your value as well. This can happen for you if you work through 3 stages of personal development.

The first stage is Know How You Show Up.  I am not referring to self-awareness in the traditional sense…it’s something much broader and deeper. This has to do not only with how others see you but also with your own self-esteem. 

Self-esteem shows up sometimes as an issue, even with top women leaders. You may think that as an accomplished woman that no one can see how you feel about yourself, but this is not true. And we are led to believe the old saying “fake it until you make it” is an answer but there is a dark side to this old saying.  And this dark side shows up with the energy we give off.  

Some coaches use the “fake it til you make it” as a call to action mantra because we are told as women we need this to get into action. But I disagree. Research shows that 93% of how we communicate is not verbal.  It’s how we show up with our energy, our body language, and the vibes we give off. So faking it can actually hurt the results of action.

My question to you is this - how much time do you spend paying attention to things like the presentation you put together, the shoes you wear and all the external layers you create?  Perhaps it’s time to pay equal attention to the others aspects of how you show up.

Once you know how to show up, the next stage is Being Able To Challenge Your Value. This is a messy and complex one. The reason this is the case is because there are so many influences that impact how we value ourselves. For myself,  I had to work through all kinds of messy issues to get to a place where I not only saw my value and believed in it but was willing to challenge others on what they saw as my value. I had to get to a place where I able to believe and know!  To know is your thought side but to believe is your emotional side.  One without the other is ineffective and empty.

And I said this was complex and it is because it doesn’t stop here.  Now you have to be able to know the right words and the right way to push back when others don’t see or acknowledge your value. This is why to know, believe and communicate is what I call the Power Triangle. One without the other two leaves you lacking in the ability to be recognized and in the end, claim your true value.

Now to the last stage of this process - Reframe Disappointment. This one includes the lies we tell ourselves. Here is where it gets tricky.  Because we are not aware of the lies we tell ourselves, we behave and make excuses about why things are the way they are. Reality gets blurred.  You can get so caught up in the illusion that when disappointment hits -as it always does – you react based on the illusion.  And then this is the vibe you give off and the downward spiral begins.  The result is others underestimate you because you underestimate yourself. 

So it becomes critical how you let disappointments define you. Self-talk is part of this definition so become very aware of what you are telling yourself. If you’re going to lie to yourself, make it positive.

Practice this 3 stage process on a regular basis. In doing this, you will show up as the strong business woman that you are as opposed to seeming filled with uncertainty. And as a power player, the world can’t easily underestimate you.

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